Chapter Nine

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Samantha woke up the next morning and realized that she was alone in the bed. She stood and pulled her clothes back on before walking out of the room and down the stairs. She found Zachary in kitchen taking some heated water off the fireplace.

"Good morning." she said. Zachary looked up at her and felt his heart skip a beat. Her hair was wild and out of control around her face. Her cheek was red and lined from being pressed into her pillow and he realized that her freckles were even more noticeable in the early morning.

You are beautiful." he said. Samantha felt herself blush under his gaze.

"What are you doing?" she asked pointing at the water.

"I thought you might want to take a bath this morning. I have to go into Rolling Prairie and look into getting a few cattle and milk cows." Samantha nodded.

"Is there room for me to come?" she asked. Zachary smiled happily.

"Of course, Sam, if you want to come. Rolling Prairie has a bigger store than Paco. You might find something for yourself while we're there"

"Go put that water in the tub before you break your back standing there holding it." Samantha said matter of factly. Zachary had forgotten he even had the large kettle in his hands as he talked to her but he nodded and walked into the big bedroom and poured it into the copper tub. Samantha saw that he had already put several bucket fulls in the tub and it was full.

"Join me." Samantha said wrapping her arms around his neck and pressing her body against his. Zachary growled and kissed her thoroughly. He pulled away finally and held her at arms length.

"I can't." he said with a voice full of regret. "I have to get everything ready for our trip today." Samantha smiled and turned away from him. She pulled her shirt off and he stared at her long lean back. She half turned toward him covering her breast with one small dainty hand. Zachary found himself having trouble swallowing and his mouth was suddenly dry.

"Suit yourself." she said with a wink. Zachary turned quickly and left the room before he lost all self control.

"Damn woman." Samantha heard him mumble as he walked out and she chuckled. She pulled off her skirt and climbed into the large copper tub. She moaned with pleasure as she sunk down in the warm water letting it cover her shoulders. She looked around the room and realized that the sign of money was evident even in this simple house.

The tub she was sitting in was the first clue. The wardrobes, dressers and bed were all ornate and detailed and of the finest quality. She had a hard time picturing Zachary as being a rich man but then she should have noticed the way he was paying so much for her every night at the saloon and the way he paid for all of the supplies at the store as if they were nothing. She became lost in her thoughts as she picked up the flower scented soap and washed herself.

Zachary was throwing the last of their gear into the cart when Samantha stepped out on the porch. She smiled and laughed in delight as Jake came running up to her and jumped up for attention.

"Well hello there little guy!" she said. Samantha's laughter floated to Zachary's ears like a song and he stood straight and looked over at her. She was smiling happily. She had pulled back on the clothes she had worn the day before. Her freshly washed hair was pulled up on her head and she was wearing her riding hat. Her skin was glowing from the recent scrubbing and she took his breath away. When he finally managed to compose himself she was walking up to him with that pup on her heels.

"You look beautiful." he admitted, yet again, finding that he had to say those words nearly everytime he looked at her.  She blushed and smiled at him.

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